Reamed intramedullary (IM) screw fixation for proximal fifth metatarsal fractures is technically challenging with potentially devastating complications if basic principles are not followed. A case of an iatrogenic fourth-degree burn after elective reamed IM screw fixation of a proximal fifth metatarsal fracture in a high-level athlete is reported. The case was complicated by postoperative osteomyelitis with third-degree soft-tissue defect. This was successfully treated with staged autologous bone graft reconstruction, tendon reconstruction, and local bi-pedicle flap coverage. The patient returned to competitive-level sports, avoiding the need for fifth ray amputation. Critical points of the IM screw technique and definitive reconstruction are discussed. Bulk autograft reconstruction is a safe and effective alternative to ray amputation in segmental defects of the fifth metatarsal.Level of evidence V.
Keywords: Fourth-degree burn; Iatrogenic burn; Intramedullary screw; Jones fracture; Metatarsal fracture; Osteomyelitis; Segmental bone defect; Stress fracture; Thermal necrosis.